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College wrestling notebook: Cowboys get younger

Back in late October, Oklahoma State wrestling coach John Smith said there was a strong possibility that his team might get younger before the season reached the home stretch.

OSU will take part in the Virginia Duals on Friday and Saturday with some younger wrestlers getting mat time. One of those spots is at 184 pounds, where Lawton MacArthur freshman Chris McNeil has shown promise. McNeil started in OSU’s win over UC Davis on Sunday and won his match. Regular starter Jared Shelton will also see time.

“That kid (McNeil) wants it so bad,” Smith said. “Technically there are things he needs to focus on, but the want and the attitude is there. I am concerned with Jared’s four losses to people that he shouldn’t be getting beat by. Those are concerns you have when you’re wrestling as a senior, but his attitude hasn’t changed. He wants to be in that spot.”

Mason wants more
OSU’s Brandon Mason (165) qualified for the NCAA Championships as a junior and has wrestled well in spots this year. But this season hasn’t been up to his standards. He scraped by Sunday, winning his match 2-0 against an unranked opponent.

“I don’t think I was the only one who was frustrated Sunday,” Mason said. “I think most of us could say we didn’t wrestle as well as we could. I know I didn’t wrestle the match I wanted to, and when you do that, you’re always frustrated. But it motivates me to work harder. That’s all you can do.”

Shelton returns
Oklahoma will have 133-pounder Brian Shelton (El Reno) back in the lineup Sunday against Tennessee-Chattanooga. Shelton had missed time because of a family illness. OU coach Jack Spates is glad to have Shelton back, though David Armstrong performed well in his place. Shelton won both of his matches at the Lone Star Duals last weekend.

“He was really looking good earlier this season,” Spates said. “Brian can stay with anyone and this is the first year he’s felt right about his weight. That had been a distraction for him.”

Bailey ready for a turnaround
Tennessee-Chattanooga will provide OU with tests at 141, 157 and 165 pounds. OU sophomore Zack Bailey (141) has had his ups and downs this year after qualifying for the NCAA Championships as a freshman. The Missouri native is 12-5 and will face Tennessee-Chattanooga’s Cody Cleveland on Sunday. Cleveland beat Bailey at the NCAA’s last year.
“Zack has been struggling a little bit with his confidence,” Spates said. “This is a good time for him to embrace the challenge.”

By Matt Patterson (Original here)

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